Tuesday, October 4, 2011

On the hunt for Sugar Maples...the beginning of a series...

We spent a magical afternoon in the woods this past weekend.  The weather was pretty crappy out, but after a couple of days inside, I really need to get in touch with nature again.  Fall weather is great, but you get some patches of wet, damp weather that make you want to watch movies all day.

I was determined not to let the wind and rain get the better of us.

The trees were very welcoming.  They provided shelter from the wind and rain.  It's like they wanted us to be there that day.  We came armed with snacks, hot chocolate in a thermos and a book called "The Backyard Homestead" edited by Carleen Madigan.  We borrowed this book from a friend and it has yet to make its way home to its owner.  Its a fantastic book about all the things you can grow and provide for your family on as little as a 1/4 of an acre of land!  There is a chapter in this book about how to tap your own maple syrup.  While we have never done this in the past (or even known anyone who has done it), we thought "why not us?".

Last spring we aided my Hubbie's parents in cleaning up a former dump on their property.  People had just pitched all sorts of lovelies into the woods behind their home.  We took the whole family on clean up day and actually had a blast.  It was like a treasure hunt, a rummage pile, a garbage dump and a historical lesson all wrapped up into one day.  We found everything from a car, appliances, old hub caps and MAPLE SYRUP TAPPING BUCKETS! 

We went hunting for sugar maple trees in these woods this past weekend.  Hubbie and I have talked for years about getting into his parent's woods and marking which trees we could tap.   Since we've never done this before, we were glad to have the book with us as a sort of guide.  It was almost as if the forest wanted us to find the right trees...  

They were already marked!

We marked them again anyhow...just to make sure which ones WE were going to tap.  Over a dozen potential tapping treese were marked that day.

The kids had a blast in the woods.  They too were having some much needed outside time (and it was a lot safer since we'd cleared out a lot of the hazards last year).

The colours on the forest floor were amazing.  The book told us all about the right colour of leaf to look for...so you didn't tap the wrong kind of maple tree.  Pink to orange and then yellow, those were the leaf colours we needed to find for sugar maple trees.  Small leaves in the shape of our Canadian flag leaf...not the jagged edges of the red maple nor the giant leaves of the Norway maple.

Hubbie went up on a hill to mark some more maples.

The boys were very much at home here in the woods. 
They looked like they could have stayed outside all day. 

A look up into the tree tops.  It was beautiful even though it was cloudy.

It was great to let the kids go on their own adventures in the woods.

Even if it was only for a short while before they came running back to Mum.

We'll see how our little experiement turns out this spring.  Stay tuned for follow up posts about this!  This is our first year and we just might not get this right.  Fingers crossed it all works out...but thats what this blog is all about.   Testing those things that books write about.  Passing or failing...but at least trying.  Gaining a better appreciation for things that come all too easily these days.

Doing it together as a family.

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